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Lack of technology poses problem in classrooms

With the ever-growing dependence on technology in everyday life, it is no surprise that devices have become a huge part of academics, as well.  But what happens when a course is technology-centered but doesn’t have the materials needed for students to succeed?

According to the research done by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), public schools provided handheld devices to 49 percent administrators and 15 percent of teachers but only 4 percent of students.

This proves to be an issue in many classes, including business administration teacher, Ms. Alvarenga.

“Unavailability of these resources forces students to use their own cell phones, which makes it difficult for me to monitor what sites my students are using,” Ms. Alvarenga explained.

Technological materials that could make learning easier and more effective include tablets or computers. However, some students lack their own hand-held devices, let alone ones provided by the school.  This doesn’t just hinder students but also teachers, because they can’t use academic programs like Google Classroom and Edmodo effectively.

Some counties in the country, however, provide their students with devices.  

According to the report, “The New Digital Playbook: Understanding the Spectrum of Students’ Activities and Aspirations,” issued by Project Tomorrow, “66 percent of students in middle school and high school have access to laptops, and 75 percent of high schoolers and 68 percent of middle schoolers access class information through an online portal.” The report also shows two percent of high schoolers and 47 percent of middle schoolers take tests online. This represents the level of importance technological devices pose to an educational environment.

Some teachers argue, however, that technology use in the classroom is an opportunity for students to lose focus of class work, text or visit websites that are inappropriate for class.

According to a study published in the journal Educational Psychology, students who had cell phones or laptops present while a lesson was being taught scored five percent, or half a letter grade, lower on exams than students who didn’t use electronics.

Some schools, like Charles Carroll Middle School, provide personal iPads to all students, but the key is to caring for them properly.

“I think once we have the technology, students should take care of them,” said Ms. Alvarenga.  “I think the students should treat the technology as if it belonged to them.”